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Fantasy
(Fic)
Sasha's Journey: Book One of the Transition Series
by Sheri Conaway


All her life, Sasha had been part of a close-knit community. So why did her parents suddenly uproot her to move to the middle of the desert where they were unwanted outsiders? Why did the locals hate her on sight? And what was going on at the mine outside of town? The answers seemed to lie with a very bossy, telepathic Tabby. "Sounds interesting!"

Chapter 1

The blazing desert sun offended Sasha with its efforts to raise her mood above abject misery. The voices in her head had been getting louder, but each carried the same hostile message: “Go back where you came from, Girl. You and your family aren’t welcome here.”ť

Sasha trudged blindly along the now-familiar sidewalk towards the white and yellow clapboard house which was nearly as forlorn as Sasha, surrounded only by Joshua trees and hard-packed sand on the outskirts of town. She s...



Chapter 2

Tess had known enough teenagers to realize Sasha would probably remain in her room until either hunger or morning forced her out. After reassuring herself the house was adequately protected, she decided some decisions needed to be made sooner rather than later and returned to Council Headquarters.

Pacing back and forth, tail twitching in obvious irritation and furious at being kept waiting, Tess muttered to herself, heaping abuse on the heads of anyone she could think of.  A woman sitting at t...



Chapter 3

A sunbeam teased Sasha’s eyes open. Her face felt crusty from the tears which had dried while she slept and a tender spot on her cheek matched the pattern on the framed photograph lying forgotten on her pillow. When her stomach complained of the lengthy gap between meals, yesterday’s encounter with the telepathic cat came flooding back. Stripping off her wrinkled clothes, she headed for the shower. Today, facing the tortures of her classmates beat anything her furry friend had to offer. ...



Chapter 4

In a diner not far from Adamsville High School, four friends sat at their usual table, strategically positioned to see and be seen, yet remain isolated should they prefer a private conversation. With their heads close together over the usual basket of fries and glasses of coke, they were an island of relative calm amidst students shooting straw papers, bouncing from table to table and speaking in voices that would make a drill sergeant proud.

Friends since early childhood, the four shared little mo...



Chapter 5

“Just another day in paradise!” Sasha grumbled, trudging home after another disaster-filled day at school. Just once, she’d like to have a boring day when nobody noticed or spoke to her, much less tried to make her life the living hell it had become since she moved here. Unfortunately, today had not been that day.

Though she’d succeeded in slipping into her seat unnoticed, the respite was temporary. She couldn’t keep her mind from wandering to her missing parents and ...



Chapter 6

Tess returned to Sasha’s front porch, every hair on her tail standing at attention. Something or someone had been nosing around the house while she was gone. She hoped Mariel had convinced Sasha to follow instructions and that both girls were safely locked in the basement.

She walked through the closed door acknowledging the locked deadbolt with a small nod and paused just inside. The hairs on her tail relaxed when she felt Earth’s energy alive and well within the walls. Reaching ...



Chapter 7

“Did you see the look she gave me?” Amy shivered, remembering Sasha’s glare when she picked herself up after Josh helped her face plant.

 “Just be glad she doesn’t have powers like that girl in ‘Carrie’.” 

Josh gave his solid wall of chest muscles an admiring glance and laughed at the picture Mary’s statement provoked. 

“Are you sure she doesn’t? Could you just see her slamming me up against a wall?”<...



Chapter 8

Sebastian gazed around the map-covered table at the people he had worked closely with, some for mere decades, others, centuries. They had weathered many storms together, but too many of the blue lights on the map had winked out in the last few days. His claws scored the edge of the table as two more winked out: two more Star Guides missing…or worse. He searched the familiar faces for even a small glimmer of hope; a possible solution or a memory of a crisis like this somewhere in their past. Ariadne res...



Chapter 9

Paul and Mary sat in Mary’s kitchen, books and laptops lying forgotten on the table between them, wearing identical vacant expressions. They had long since stopped pretending to study. Mary broke the lengthy silence, startling Paul and bringing him back from wherever his mind had wandered. He blinked a few times until his eyes refocused on the sun washed kitchen’s stark white cabinets and yellow speckled linoleum floor. Mary’s voice drew his eyes to the puzzled look on her face.

...



Chapter 10

Sasha and Mariel spent the rest of the afternoon checking out all the cabins. A fair number of rabbits, squirrels, and other four-legged squatters had moved in while the camp lay vacant, and needed encouragement to move back out. After their first encounter with a porcupine, and the tell-tale stench of an irritated skunk, they took the precaution of stomping around in the pine needles and fallen branches before entering a new cabin, waiting a few minutes to see if the noise warned the squatters to vacate...



Chapter 11

Deep inside an abandoned gold mine, Phil forced his mind away from the pain in his body caused by long hours spent chained to the cavern wall by his arms. Years of separating gold from rock had left rough walled, hollowed out alcoves their captors had put to good use as small cells. Some, like the one he occupied, were open to the center of the cave, while others had bars sunk into the ceiling and floors, allowing the occupants to move about more instead of being physically restrained. As the first Star ...



Chapter 12

Deep conversations over an untouched pile of books were a common occurrence for Mary and Paul, even before they’d begun questioning everyone’s uncharacteristic behavior. They had a broad view of the neighborhood from the window-encased alcove where Mary’s family ate their meals, but neither noticed the harsh glare of the afternoon sun, the faded blue sky or the children playing on a makeshift bike ramp in the middle of the street. As often happened when they were together, they were int...



Chapter 13

The sun shining in her eyes woke Sasha from the best night’s sleep she’d had in what seemed like years. Looking around the unfamiliar, yet comfortable room, she spotted Mariel, just beginning to regain consciousness herself. Slowly reorienting herself as she came fully awake, the events of the last couple of days paraded through her mind like a caricature of people and places, not quite real, but close enough to be disturbing. Having Mariel beside her made the absence of explanations and her ...



Chapter 14

Mary was sitting on her front porch beside an ice chest filled with sandwiches, fruit, cookies, and cans of soda when Paul arrived at 9:00 AM. His eyes were framed by purplish circles, and his movements were more tentative than usual.

“You look a little bleary eyed, there, Paul. What’d you do? Stay up all night?”

“You’re going to be awfully glad I did!” Paul’s eyes lit up and the spring returned to his step. He grinned, grabbed the ice chest and heade...



Chapter 15

“That’s weird,” Josh said looking in the rear view mirror at the car they’d just passed.

“Hmm?” Amy looked up from where she was fiddling with the radio dial, trying to get a station to come in. Why had she agreed to join Josh on this crazy errand for Principal Adams?  Josh and Adams were awfully chummy these days, and she doubted it was a good thing.

“Doesn’t make sense to see another car on this road. It doesn’t go anywhe...



Chapter 16

Life at the Bass Lake compound was beginning to settle into a loose kind of routine. Despite the majority of the residents being teenagers who would prefer sleeping until noon, most stumbled bleary-eyed to the communal showers when the sun came up and straightened their share of the cabin without being told before joining the staff in the mess hall for breakfast and the day’s announcements. 

After breakfast, the instructors broke everyone into groups for classes using a seemingly ra...



Chapter 17

Josh slammed into the house, anger and frustration radiating from every pore. How dare they? I’ve always been in charge, and now, not only was every one of them going soft in the head, they were all defying him! Who in the hell did they think they were? Storming through the living room, he failed to notice the small group whose conversation had ceased when he sent the front door crashing into the wall. 

“Stop right there, young man!”

The commanding tone of...



Chapter 18

“Would you stop that?” Mariel snapped as Sasha once again disappeared, only to reappear barely a foot in front of her. “Just because you’ve already got teleporting yourself does not mean you have to toss it in my face!” To herself she added “literally” but left the word unspoken.

“I’m not throwing it in your face, Mariel.” Sasha replied. “I’m encouraging you to practice so you’ll get it too. I like studying with ...



Chapter 19

Tess stood in Sebastian’s office surrounded by a hand-picked group of Council members and allowed her thoughts to wander while trying to decide just how much she was going to share with this room full of fossils. Had they not been so set in their ways and convinced of the very rightness of what they were facilitating, Phil and Barbara would not have relocated to Adamsville alone. In fact, they could have delved into the abnormal energy levels they’d detected while scouting out new camping spo...



Chapter 20

The subvocal conversation Phil was having with the other captives in the mine carried a sense of urgency today.

“Something’s changed. I can’t put my finger on it, but I don’t think we have much time left to figure out who and what we’re dealing with before we need to get the hell out of here.”

“At least it seems to be getting easier to talk to each other. I could swear I caught thoughts from someone outside the mine today.” Phil’s head s...



Chapter 21

Paul and Mary sat at a table in the town’s library, poring over copies of old newspapers, searching for a tangible connection between Josh’s family and Mr. Adams. 

Paul’s excited “Hey, Mary, look at this!” earned him an irritated “shhhh!” from the elderly librarian whose lurking presence promised unspeakable consequences for anyone who dared damage one of her precious documents. Her creased face folded into a perpetual frown failed to dampen Paul&rsq...



Chapter 22

For the last couple of days, Phil had been probing the weakening communication blocks in an effort to trace them to the source. What he’d discovered so far disturbed him on a number of levels. 

The blocks definitely originated from a source outside the town of Adamsville and, in fact, were keeping the townspeople in the dark as much or more than they were hiding the true nature of the mine’s current use from the rest of the world. The locals who owned the mine were simply another p...



Chapter 23

After Tess left, Sasha and Mariel sat on the bed like two shipwreck victims clinging to the only other survivor. 

“Does it seem like she’s expecting an awful lot from us?” Sasha finally asked.

“Yeah,” Mariel agreed. “Especially since nobody’s bothered to explain to us what our oh-so-amazing talents and abilities are supposed to allow us to do, or what we’re supposed to do with them!”

“So far, we don’t seem to be any ...



Chapter 24

Mary and Amy sat on Mary’s bed, painting their toenails a vivid fluorescent orange and exchanging confidences. Giggling over fan magazines and sappy movies, and just hanging out made Mary realize just how long it had been since things were so simple, so carefree. It wasn’t long ago when the four friends were on equal footing; when Josh didn’t act like he should make all of the decisions, while everyone else went along with his edicts just to keep the peace.

She couldn’t pinp...



Chapter 25

Sasha sat cross-legged on her bed, her gaze fixed on a photograph of her parents and scrunched up her face in an effort to follow the instructions Tess was giving her. 

“All right, Sasha, do you have a clear picture in your head now? I know you haven’t seen your parents much in the last few months, but to communicate over this much distance, you need to have a clear picture of them in your mind.”

“Yeah, Tess, I’ve got it!” Sasha snapped. “No...



Chapter 26

Mary was waiting on the front porch when Paul arrived. She ran down the walkway with her backpack dangling from her left hand while Paul held the car door for her. 

“Guess someone is excited about our next adventure.” he couldn’t resist commenting.

“I just feel like we’re getting closer to figuring this out. It’s like reading a mystery, but instead of turning the page, we actually get to figure it out for ourselves.”

The car vibrat...



Chapter 27

Tess sat statue-like on Sasha’s bed facing the two girls with her tail curled around her feet. Her ears laid back against her skull and whiskers standing straight out exuded tension which was reflected in the girls’ posture. Arms wrapped tightly around each other, they appeared to be two halves of a single organism. Their tight grip on each other was the only thing stilling the trembling that was pushing Tess’s already sensitive nerves to the breaking point.

She experienced anothe...



Chapter 28

Sebastian gazed sightlessly through the plate glass behind his desk into the darkness. Lights from the city far below the 30th story window mimicked the stars pockmarking the sky. He’d long since turned his attention inward, away from the droning voice reporting on the progress of the makeshift training camps. He already knew what they contained as he’d spent more time at the camps than his office in recent weeks. The decision to move students into groups with similar talents was proving effe...



Chapter 29

Paul and Mary sat in the yellow Adirondack chairs on her front porch, a plate of peanut butter cookies and two glasses of lemonade sitting untouched on the table between them. Condensation from the glasses formed small pools and ran between the tiles of the table’s mosaic top. Both started out at the street where neighborhood kids ran through sprinklers or whizzed by on skateboards as if they could find answers in the chalk marks on the pavement. Faces scrunched in concentration, they were trying t...



Chapter 30

“Damn it, Karl, we have nothing.” Phil snapped. “The best we can do is give them guesses based on what we’ve pulled from minds who are too far removed from the chain of command to know anything useful.” The two men had been arguing for the better part of an hour and were no closer to agreement than they’d been when they started. Phil’s hair stood up in little spikes where he’d dragged his fingers through dozens of times. Karl’s horn rimmed glasses wer...



Chapter 31

Sasha and Mariel faced each other, sitting cross legged on Mariel’s bed gripping each other’s hands tightly. The toll the twice daily out of body trips to the mine were taking on them showed in the matching creases between their brows.

Tess led them into another slow, careful trip to the mine via the Adamsville house, the car and finally, the mine itself. Impatience radiated off them in palpable waves. Tess knew the countless trips with nothing to show for their efforts was wearing on ...



Chapter 32

Stifling a curse when Mary leaped from his lap, Paul rose, ready to blast the idiot who had screeched to a halt in front of the house. The ricochet of a car door slamming erased what was left of his good mood. The air hummed with barely contained energy generated by the sudden cacophony and the palpable ire rising from their unwelcome visitor.

To their surprise, it was Josh who strode up the walkway looking ready to spit nails. Hoping to defuse Josh’s anger, Paul assumed a genial tone he...



Chapter 33

Tess’s whiskers drooped and her eyes grew dark, the lids hanging low to hide the dismal thoughts whirling behind them. In her mind she saw Sebastian’s office filled with ancient Council members who’d already proven how ill-fit they were to deal with a world that had leapt far ahead while they allowed themselves to be mislead into a false sense of security.

In her heart, Tess knew the information she was bringing to the Council had little chance of making the ultra-conservative gr...



Chapter 34

“It’s time for us to leave.” Phil announced abruptly. 

Nobody questioned him. They had all suspected that once Tess shared their abbreviated intel with Council, things would begin to move quickly and Phil knew it was likely there would be more than one unwelcome surprise in the process. For now, he only knew their cover had been blown and their ability to glean additional information from inside the mine had ended with Tess’s meeting with Council.

Adams’s ga...



Chapter 35

Tess had alerted all the instructors as soon as the traitorous Council member revealed himself, but knew she was in the best position to oversee efforts to protect the Start Guide trainees. She stood atop the podium in the mess hall at the Bass Lake Compound, the tip of her tail flicking back and forth, beating a staccato rhythm on the wood. As the focal point in the process of sealing all compounds off from everyone who was not expressly authorized to be there her eyes were unfocused, glassy with the e...



Chapter 36

Amy, Mary and Paul sat in their usual spot in the center of the quad, eating lunch, and discussing Josh’s strange behavior.

“Has Josh lost his mind, or is he just doing drugs?” Paul wondered aloud.

Before anyone could offer possible answers to their questions Josh ran up to the table, his hair going in all directions, his clothes covered in something dark and sticky, and smelling like he’d been rolling around in raw sewage. 

“Omygod! You guys were...



Chapter 37

The mid-afternoon sunlight filtered through the make-shift tent casting stripes of color across Sasha’s and Mariel’s tense faces. They sat cross-legged on Sasha’s bed, facing each other, and holding hands. With the rest of their cabin-mates busy with classes, the room was unusually silent, and not entirely comforting. The worried look in their eyes spoke volumes about where they’d rather be.

Their hearts beat in nervous rhythm, communicating their anxiety over one more new r...



Chapter 38

Kyra and her team were poring over genealogical records and creating programs to sort through them more quickly, hoping to catch a break but their efforts so far had yielded few rewards. They hadn’t uncovered any connections between the people on Phil’s list or the residents of Adamsville, but as they’d barely scratched the surface of available records, Kyra remained hopeful. She’d heard the suggestion that more information might be gleaned from the polluted energies Sasha had rec...



Chapter 39

Kyra’s day was one interruption after another. After seeing Hightower’s name show up with such frequency when Ty’s anomaly theory was applied, she was anxious to follow the trail and see just how far it led. Unfortunately, it seemed like everyone was enjoying similar successes with their own investigations, and as a result, they all desperately needed Kyra to validate their findings. Being in charge of the tech team had its drawbacks. She’d have to add “minimize interru...



Chapter 40

“What do you mean, they escaped?” the man behind the desk gripped the desk to prevent himself from choking the messenger, his knuckles white from the effort. “I guess I should have expected this, with imbeciles guarding the store” he muttered half to himself.

From the other side of the room, a voice spoke from the shadows. “If you had only listened. I told you we wouldn’t be able to contain them indefinitely.”

“I thought that was your job, anywa...



Chapter 41

“Phil?” Barbara’s voice startled him from a deep reverie. She could almost see the gears turning in his head as he was running what both groups of teens had discovered back and forth through his mind. His pinched lips and creased brow told her so far, he had no answers.

He dragged his thoughts back to the present, smiled at his wife, and reached for her hand to pull her close. “What is it, honey?”

“I’ve mulled over what Kyra said about birth reco...



Chapter 42

Over the last few months, the town of Adamsville had experienced more than its share of changes, an influx of strangers and erosion of the status quo. No one felt the impact of the changes more intensely than the three friends who huddled together in their usual booth at the diner, deep in conversation over a forgotten basket of French fries and three cokes whose melting ice was turning them to caramel flavored water.

“I don’t know whether to believe Josh’s story or not.” Am...



Chapter 43

The wind howled through the trees, high above the cabins, and the temperature had the residents of the Bass Lake compound shivering and rushing to unearth jackets, gloves, and hats. It was a tangible reminder their adventure which began in the mild days of late spring had now consumed the entire summer. Crews insulated and heated all the cabins when it became clear the temporary relocation would extend indefinitely.

More land had been cleared and additional cabins built to house the rest of the Sta...



Chapter 44

By unspoken agreement, the four headed towards Sasha and Mariel’s cabin. Its proximity to the mess hall and the illusion of privacy the girls had created made it the best place to reconvene. Stepping through the flag draped doorway into the girls’ tented room, the four removed their coats and gloves and settled on the two bunks before resuming the interrupted conversation. Mariel passed around cups of cocoa she’d had the foresight to grab as they were leaving the mess hall. Everyone wra...



Chapter 45

The cacophony of voices in the mess hall rose to window rattling proportions as more Star Guides teleported in, drawn by news of the explosion. Tess clapped her paws over her ears when the noise threatened to rupture her sensitive eardrums. When energetic soothing failed to stem the rising pandemonium, she resorted to using an audible purr. Those standing closest to the stage reacted more quickly to the soft rumble. Their sudden silence triggered a snowball effect, the wave of quiet flowing through the r...



Chapter 46

“The bastards know we’re on to them now!” Hightower rubbed his hands together, a huge grin splitting his skeletal face.

“Your understanding of military strategy is highly overrated.” Fitzhugh replied in disgust. 

“I beg your pardon?” Hightower’s smile faltered as he raised an eyebrow ominously.

“You’ve just sent them a fireworks display and a mile-high banner proclaiming: Here we are. Come and get us if you dare.<...



Chapter 47

Back in the mess hall, Barbara found things were still more chaotic than productive.  Standing quietly by the door, she listened to the various conversations as she slowly removed her coat and scarf and hung them on a hook. 

“We should just send our Guardians to blow their headquarters up like they did ours!” She heard from one group.

“I’m just grateful nobody was hurt” came from another.

“What if they figure out where we have the ...



Chapter 48

Prime Minister Watson’s secretary entered his office to find him uncharacteristically distraught. Known for his unflappable calm, even in the worst of circumstances, this sudden deviation from the norm was enough to stop the man who had served as his secretary for nearly twenty years in his impeccably shod tracks. 

“Beg pardon sir.” Jonathon Parkins paused in the doorway, straightening his perfectly tied tie. Realizing Watson was unaware of his presence, Jonathon moved f...



Chapter 49

James Fitzhugh sat motionless before the black screen in the teleconferencing center of his underground headquarters, his thoughts mirroring those of his cousin’s. Although he had been raised from birth to believe thwarting the mission of the Star Guides and their precious Transition were his duty and birthright, Hightower’s latest unilateral act had increased his distaste for the whole matter. Unfortunately, he had too many others besides himself to consider before making any life altering d...



Chapter 50

After dinner, Phil, Barbara, Karl and Anita made their way to Sasha and Mariel’s cabin. The evening’s briefing was well under way. The four teenagers’ words tumbled over each other making the adults wonder how they could possibly be communicating. Stepping quietly through the door, Phil took advantage of their temporary invisibility to take in the scene as his baby girl demonstrated her burgeoning leadership qualities.

“Ok, so here’s what we have so far” Sasha ma...



Chapter 51

As it turned out, Phil needed to give Hawkins little more than the location and the energy signatures of the men they were looking for. 

“According to Sasha and Mariel, the only one who seems to be at the headquarters right now is Fitzhugh.” Phil told Hawkins, as he carried on a mental conversation with Sasha. “Hightower seems to be in London with Watson, though he could show up here at any time, especially if he senses something amiss.”

“Got it, Phil.&...



Chapter 52

Darkness shrouded the car, the only sign of civilization, the patch of asphalt framed by the headlights. Paul and Mary spoke softly as the lights of Adamsville came into view. Taking Mary to dinner in the city seemed to have taken her mind off the horror of recent events.  

Paul jerked his thoughts back to his driving when Mary grabbed his arm in a death grip, nearly causing him to drive off into the soft desert sand. 

“Did you see that?” Mary pointed towards town.



Chapter 53

Hawkins returned to the living room, knowing Fitzhugh was in good hands, and that they’d soon have some answers. He put his hand on Harvey’s shoulder in silent question as he gazed at PM Watson’s empty office on the monitors mounted on the wall. 

“Sorry sir. They were gone by the time we got the feed going. Looks like they left in a hurry, but we couldn’t chance sending anyone in until we knew what we were dealing with.” 

Both men knew t...



Chapter 54

Working quickly to pack up Sasha’s room, Mariel stopped suddenly when she spotted the silver box she’d knocked over when she’d arrived, unexpected, so many months ago. Sasha stopped packing and turned to face Mariel; her head cocked to the side. Mariel stood in the middle of the room, cupped the little box in her hands, her eyes unfocused as she stared at something far beyond what she held. 

“What is it, Mar? You OK?” Sasha asked worriedly.

“Wha?&...



Chapter 55

Four men sat rigidly around a rough-hewn, table staring blankly at the man who was speaking. A fifth man who stood staring out the window interrupted to say: “We need to get Fitzhugh out of there!” 

“No harm will come to him.” Hightower sneered. “They’ll simply pick his brain and find nothing useful. You don’t think I’d trust any of you with information the Star Guides could use to stop me.”

Still feeling the pain which Hightower&rsqu...




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